The UK’s Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched the PLA Investment Plan, aimed at speeding up delivery of the goals in the authority’s Thames Vision — a framework for development of the UK’s River Thames, which passes through London — and diversifying the authority’s income streams.
In a release, the PLA said the intention is to target three broad investment categories: commercial investments supporting port or river use, long-term investments with a long payback period (which also deliver public benefits) and public benefit investments (with no financial return expected).
All investments made under the plan will have a clear connection to the PLA’s strategy — Protect, Improve and Promote — and will be judged on the degree that they enable delivery of the Thames Vision’s goals.
Under the new PLA approach, the first investment is a spend of more than £3m by the authority on installing a new conveyor system, to improve ship-unloading infrastructure, at the Northfleet terminal, located in Kent in southeast England, of building material supplier CEMEX UK.
The conveyor will improve cargo discharge performance at the site, which handles sand and gravel used in the London construction market.
Commenting on the PLA Investment Plan, Christopher Rodrigues, PLA chairman, said that over many years, the authority had built up a cash reserve to give itself scope to make beneficial investments and offer a buffer against economic downturns, but that fund was going to be put to active use.
“The Thames Vision sets out really ambitious goals, and this is us doing our bit to kickstart development and growth,” he explained.
“This isn’t just for us to do alone, but we see a unique opportunity to use our reserves to lever in other funds and increase all kinds of river use.”
Mr Rodrigues added that the Port of London, as a Trust Port, has scope to invest for the longer term and that a variety of supported ventures should be anticipated “as the commitment in the Vision is to grow river use alongside an improving environment”.
“Together the Investment Plan and other developments make up a comprehensive package of innovation, investment and partnerships to deliver the strategy,” he later added.
“In combination, they are set to make a genuine difference to the ongoing development of the Thames.”
The chairman launched the PLA Investment Plan at the PLA’s Annual Stakeholder Forum, where the authority reported an operating surplus of £7.3m for last year.
The PLA Investment Plan can be found at https://www.pla.co.uk/Strategy-Vision-and-Investment-Plan/PLA-Investment-Plan.
Source: Port Strategy, 18 May 2018